Halverson named founding dean of Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI

Feb. 21, 2013

IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IUPUI Chancellor and IU Executive Vice President Charles R. Bantz announce the appointment of Paul K. Halverson as the founding dean of the new IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.

The IU Board of Trustees approved the appointment today, and Halverson will begin his new role May 15. Halverson, 53, has served as director and state health officer for the Arkansas Department of Health since 2005 under two governors. In that role, Halverson is a member of the governor’s cabinet and oversees an organization that leads health policy and regulation for the state, as well as provides public health services and regulation from more than 90 locations throughout Arkansas.

Paul Halversion

Paul Halverson

As the dean for the Fairbanks School, Halverson will be responsible for providing the overall strategic vision and leadership for the school. Additionally, he will work to advance research, education and civic engagement, promote initiatives within the IUPUI and Central Indiana communities, and attract and retain highly motivated and well-qualified faculty, staff and students to the school.

“The new Fairbanks School of Public Health will play a vital role in improving the health of Indiana residents, and we are delighted to have attracted a health care leader of Paul’s caliber for this critical position,” McRobbie said. “Paul’s broad experience in setting public health policy at the state, national and international level, as well as his work as a professor of public health, makes him ideally suited for this significant challenge.”

The Fairbanks School of Public Health, one of two IU schools of public health created last fall, will focus on the areas of urban health, health policy, biostatistics and epidemiology. With its strong connections to the IU School of Medicine, it will serve as a catalyst to help build a collaborative approach to improve public health in a state that lags much of the nation in several key health metrics.

“Indiana is currently ranked 43rd in the nation for overall health determinants, and this state can, and must, do more to help its residents live healthier lives,” Bantz said. “Paul has significant experience meeting the very type of health issues Hoosiers face and which the Fairbanks School is designed to address, and his appointment holds great promise for our work in this area.”

In his current role, Halverson oversees an organization with more than 5,000 employees and contractors and a budget exceeding $400 million. He also is a tenured professor at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and a professor at the College of Medicine, both within the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Additionally, he serves as an adjunct professor at the School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his doctorate in public health.

“Paul Halverson understands the complex public health issues facing this country today, and he is well positioned to lead the Fairbanks School of Public Health as it endeavors to improve the lives of Hoosiers,” said Edwin Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and chair of the IU Public Health Coordinating Council. “The school, with its emphasis on urban health issues, will leverage the existing strengths of the IU School of Medicine and other health sciences disciplines on our Indianapolis campus, and Paul is an outstanding choice to lead that ambitious effort.“

From 2009 to 2010, Halverson served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the national organization representing state public health officials. In 2011, Halverson received the organization’s highest award, the McCormack Award. Halverson also serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Health Accreditation Board, the national accreditation organization for state and local public health agencies, having served as chairman of the board in 2009-10 and currently as the vice chairman of its Accreditation Committee.

“I am extremely honored to be selected as the founding dean of the Fairbanks School of Public Health,” Halverson said. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students to advance our mission of improving the overall health of people and communities across the state of Indiana and beyond.”

Prior to his work in Arkansas, Halverson held several key positions within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including senior scientist and director of the Division of Public Health Systems and Workforce Development; senior advisor in the Office of Strategy and Innovation; director of the CDC’s World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Public Health Practice; and director of the National Public Health Performance Standards program. Prior to his work in public health, Halverson served for many years as a hospital and health system executive in the states of Michigan and Minnesota.

In addition to his doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill, Halverson holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in health services administration from Arizona State University. Halverson is married to Andrea Halverson, Pharm.D., and they have two daughters, Melissa and Kara, who are pharmacy students at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

In addition to the Fairbanks School, the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington also was approved last fall. Mohammad R. Torabi, who led the transition to the new school and was appointed dean in January pending board approval, was formally appointed at today’s board meeting.

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